BAHA – Bone Anchor Hearing Aid Implants – Information and Reviews
BAHA Hearing Aids
Possible Solutions For Those Who Cannot Use Traditional Devices
Not every person with hearing difficulty or hearing loss can be treated with traditional hearing aids. A bone-anchored hearing aid, or Baha hearing aid, was created for people who could not benefit from hearing aids that are placed behind the ear, in the ear or in the canal.
Baha hearing aids have been used since the late 1970s for the treatment of hearing loss. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the medical procedure in 1996 to be used as treatment for conductive hearing loss, and in 2002, approval was given as unilateral senorineural loss of hearing. Baha hearing aids are surgically implanted into the skull bone behind the ear to conduct sound through the bone. This type of procedure is most beneficial to people who have ear canal issues, such as frequent ear infections, congenital external auditory canal altresia or other hearing loss that is not treatable through traditional hearing aids. By using the bone to conduct sound, the device does not rely on the middle ear, which is called direct bone conduction.
Titanium implants are used because the metal will form a bond with human bones. This integration is called osseointegration and is considered a natural process.
How Baha hearing aids work
Baha hearing aids work by placing an implant into the skull bone. Over time, the implant integrates with the bone. An external abutment is placed over the implant and connects to a sound processor. The sound processor is the object that sends sound vibrations into the external abutment and the implant. The implant vibrates, which also vibrates through the bone until it stimulates nerve fibers found in the ear, which is how we hear.
The Baha hearing aid naturally reroutes sound to the “good” ear for people who have hearing loss in only one ear. This allows for a more natural sound and can eliminate the user from tilting their head or straining to hear sounds. For users who do not have single-sided deafness, the vibrations from the implant travel through bone in both ears to cochlear. The sound processor is encased in a small housing that rests on top of the skin, and it is available in a multitude of colors. Volume controls are located on the sound processor for convenience of the user.
Who can benefit from Baha hearing aids?
Baha hearing aids are available for people of all ages, from infantry to adulthood. There are three types of hearing loss for which the Baha system is best designed: mixed hearing loss, conductive hearing loss, and single-sided deafness (SSD).
- Mixed hearing loss: Mixed hearing loss occurs when a person has issues concerning the inner ear and either the middle ear or outer ear. The inner ear is the cochlea, also known as the auditory nerve.
- Conductive hearing loss: People who suffer from outer ear or middle ear problems have conductive hearing loss.
- Single-sided deafness (SSD): SSD occurs when a person experience significant or total loss of hearing in one ear. Causes of SSD include measles, trauma, mumps, tumors and hereditary diseases or disorders.
Medical conditions can often lead to deafness or loss of hearing.
- Treacher-Collins Syndrome: This hereditary condition causes deformity in the face which can present itself through deformed or missing outer ears; abnormally formed ear canals; and hearing loss, among other physical deformities. Because the syndrome affects the ear canal and outer ear, Baha hearing aids benefit patients more than traditional hearing aids, which may not aid the patient’s hearing. Since hearing is important for children to develop speech patterns and understanding of their environment, Baha hearing aids are often recommended for infants with Treach-Collins Syndrome.
- Down’s Syndrome: Those with Down’s Syndrome are more prone to ear infections, issues with neural transmissions and deformations of the auditory system. Many with the syndrome also have narrow ear canals, which render traditional hearing aids uncomfortable and useless. Implementation of Baha hearing aids at a young age can help offset language barriers for those with Down’s Syndrome.
- Chronic Ottis Media: Also known as chronic ear infections, Chronic Ottis Media is a leading cause of conductive hearing loss. Baha hearing aids are considered a safe solution because they cannot block the middle ear, which typically leads to the build-up of fluid